For busy staff, August's respite from back-to-back meetings, hearing preparation, and late votes is hard-earned. The summer recess also provides an opportunity to get ahead of issues that will resurface in the fall. To that end, we have compiled recent RAND research on topics likely to top the congressional agenda come September.
To avoid the all-too-common fate of ending up back in prison, incarcerated adults need skills and credentials they typically don't have. Helping them overcome the challenges of reentry is a net gain for them and for the communities to which they return.
Career and technical education programs give students a chance to engage in learning relevant to their chosen fields and apply immediately for jobs. A strategic vision of collaboration between industry and community colleges can benefit all parties.
Targeted federal investments in high school and college dual enrollment programs can boost postsecondary access for students currently underrepresented in postsecondary education. But thoughtful implementation could be key to ensuring those students are successful in college.
A big factor in the rise of college costs is the traditional seat-time model requiring undergraduate students to spend a specified amount of time in classrooms, frequently with doctorally qualified faculty. But there are alternative models that could enable colleges and universities to offer degrees more efficiently and affordably.
While policymakers debate options to address college affordability and the nation's mounting student loan debt, an alternative education financing model has been gaining ground in a handful of schools and state legislatures: the income share agreement. While terms vary from institution to institution, they are all based on the same premise: The more income a graduate makes, the more they will pay back.
More than half of students who enter college end up dropping out without ever completing a degree or certificate. Time and money are wasted without the benefits of a degree. While colleges are experimenting with novel techniques to boost completion rates, strategic support from the federal government could further these efforts.
The Pardee RAND Graduate School is taking a new approach to public policy education. Three new streams of study and action will better align with today's policy needs. Faculty and students will shift the focus from coming up with solutions to actually implementing them.
Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness
More than two-thirds of community college students and 40 percent of four-year college students take at least one developmental education course. States and colleges across the United States are experimenting with innovative approaches to developmental education to improve graduation rates for struggling students.
Over the last decade, more Americans age 25 to 34 earned four-year college and graduate degrees, but the number of those without college degrees also increased. New ways of communicating educational options and outcomes to young people are needed.
With the nation investing at least $1 billion a year in developmental education, states and colleges are rethinking their approaches to reform. Are states moving too fast to mandate developmental education policy? It depends on the policy.
At a moment of heightened awareness around sexual violence, America's colleges and universities have an opportunity to lead by example, through a commitment to full transparency about campus sexual assaults and openness to learning from each other's failures and successes.
A bill introduced in May would create a searchable database of students' college majors and earnings after graduation. The data could help U.S. students make informed decisions and could also be used to better allocate resources that benefit students.
Universities are partnering with private companies that have the resources to help them compete in the online learning market and maximize student enrollment. Do their different missions—providing high-quality education and making a profit—dilute the quality of the courses?
Many American students struggle with the soaring cost of higher education. And for many college students, debt can have severe negative implications. But on balance, the benefits of a college degree appear to outweigh the costs.
Mobility has become an even higher priority for researchers since the results of the UK’s EU referendum, Brexit. To continue to attract and keep top talent, the UK needs to understand how and why researchers move between countries.
In addition to restoring Mosul's damaged infrastructure, efforts to stabilize the city must include a plan to rebuild education. Students need to make up years of missed K-12 and university education, and ISIS indoctrination needs to be undone.
Many of the occupations with the most opportunities require two-year degrees or certificates. Community colleges play a key role in training students for these jobs and offer a supportive environment for displaced and dissatisfied workers.
Accurate reporting of sexual violence is important. But counting and reporting assaults shouldn't be confused with polices that focus on making sure universities have the resources and support systems they need to help victims.
The lack of an evidence base on teaching quality and its impact in higher education points to a need for more research, made more pressing by the imminent roll-out of the Teaching Excellence Framework, which intends to assess and monitor teaching quality at UK higher education institutions.
The Stern Review's release at the end of July raised two pertinent questions about the Research Education Framework. What purposes does the REF serve? And does it offer good value for money for the UK's higher education institutions?
The earnings gap between high school and college graduates has grown with each generation, but even a college degree does not ensure a good income. Just as the nature of jobs for high school graduates has been changing due to consolidation, trade, and technology, the quality of employment for college graduates is beginning to shift.
Tuition subsidies may encourage institutions to raise tuition, since the government would foot the bill. One possible solution: develop and implement policies that encourage greater productivity from higher education institutions.
High schools and universities should work together, with the support of policymakers, to develop programs that would provide a wider spectrum of U.S. students with the opportunity to take a purposeful gap year—and enter college with some real-world adult experience behind them.
Framing the future of college as a debate about whether it should be free is a lost opportunity to discuss what's really wrong with higher education in America—and a missed chance to help young Americans regain lost competitiveness in the workforce.
The challenge facing policymakers is how to lessen the college cost pressure felt by families while incentivizing institutions to innovate to reduce cost and improve quality. What if cost savings from increased productivity were quantified and a portion returned to institutions?
For civilian academics interested in bridging the political science–military gap, five recommendations to acquire basic information about the military could encourage improved interaction, better policy-relevant scholarship, and an enhanced policy process.
In 2014, the research of 154 UK universities was evaluated, accounting for the efforts of 52,061 academic staff members. For the first time, the impact that the research had on wider society was part of the assessment. As we approach the next assessment period, there is opportunity for discussion to tweak and refine future measures of impact.
In the UK, research outputs from universities are assessed every five years to determine future funding allocations from government. In 2014, for the first time, the Research Excellence Framework included an assessment of research impact. Research users played key roles throughout the process.
For the first time anywhere, the UK has allocated funding to universities according to an assessment of research impact. An evaluation of the Research Excellence Framework 2014 process reveals that it worked, allowing different types of impacts drawn from a wide range of disciplines to be compared and scored.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) has incentivized universities to be more focused on their contribution to society beyond academia. The inclusion of impact as a component of the REF is leading to a cultural shift in the academic sector.
President Obama's proposal to cover the costs of two years of community college offers hope to many American students, but two key challenges should be addressed: meeting the needs of underprepared students and devising a system to smooth the transfer of credits from one institution to another.
For middle- to lower-income families in the U.S., in particular, the costs associated with attending a four-year university are becoming nearly impossible to bear. More and more students are ending up with significant debt after graduating from college, putting financial pressure on them at the outset of their professional careers.
There are reasons to believe American students from the middle- and lower-income tiers aren't making affordable college choices. Can a new ratings system help them make better, more affordable decisions?
The UK is the first country to attempt to allocate funding based on the wider societal impact of research, and in 2012, a subset of higher education institutions in Australia ran a small-scale pilot exercise to assess impact and understand the potential challenges of the process. What can be learned by comparing the UK and Australian approaches?
The Pardee RAND summer faculty workshop aims to help scholars who teach at historically black colleges and universities strengthen their approach to research and bring new analytic thinking, tools, and practices back to their students, inspiring them to pursue graduate education and careers in public policy.
Without a concerted effort to change military executive education, military services will continue a misguided effort to buy academic credibility, and some elite universities will continue selling their names. Most importantly, the Untied States will miss an opportunity to hone the critical thinking of its next generation of military leaders.
In India, university enrolment has grown from 10 to 23 million from 2000 to 2013, and so has interest in improving access and quality. A review of research on higher-education policies on affirmative action, financial aid, private education, and vocational education identifies gaps in research on improving access and quality.
The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, or National Higher Education Mission, is the key implementing initiative of the Indian government's 12th Five Year Plan for higher education. It promotes three policy priorities in higher education — equity, expansion, and excellence.
One hundred engineering colleges around India will rely heavily on virtual instruction under a new program. Given the amount India is investing, it is important to make the best possible use of the complex and evolving Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) model.
Given the opportunities for mobility of students and graduates across Europe, there is a need to understand how each country's higher education admission requirements compare, and to consider the long-term effects of those requirements on the skills, innovativeness, and resilience of Europe's workforce.
President Obama has released a plan to make colleges more affordable for the middle class. The plan calls for linking federal student aid to college performance, capping student loans at 10% of income, and incentivizing innovative instructional approaches to cut costs and improve quality.
According to Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, tuition is becoming less affordable because institutions are not performance-oriented and thus do not use their funding wisely. But would a more efficient system really bring measurable reductions in tuition costs?
In India, perhaps if the funds that are needed are put in with the help of philanthropists like Shiv Nadar, Azim Premji or Rajendra Pawar, it may be possible to build world class universities, writes Rafiq Dossani.